The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is located in Townsville, Queensland. Tourism accounts for the majority of the area's revenue stream, and as such the area is definitely well prepared for both local and international travelers. Great Barrier Reef diving, snorkeling, fishing, yachting, and surfing are just a few of the fun ways to enjoy Marine Park.

The reef itself is the world's largest coral reef, made up of about 900 islands and 3000 coral reefs, stretching along an area more then 2000 kilometers long. In 1770 James Cook became the first European to encounter the natural wonder, which is believed to have been growing for the past 18,000 years. In more recent years, international guests have been enjoying the beauty of the reef right along side the locals through a variety of activities.

Great Barrier Reef diving is incredibly popular, and the area is one of the most diverse underwater systems to explore in the world. Equipment for both diving and snorkeling can be rented at a number of spots near Marine Park, and patrons are of course welcome to bring their own gear if they have it. There are even scuba diving classes available for beginners. When diving around the Australia Great Barrier Reef, it is especially important to take all possible precautions to avoid damaging the reef. Taking coral from the reef as a souvenir is in fact a legal offense, as is deliberately damaging the coral in any way. Be sure to study up on how to avoid trespassing while enjoying Great Barrier Reef diving.

Another popular activity the Great Barrier Reef is boating. Private yachts are available for day trips, as are fishing trawlers. Both of these activities tend to be more expensive ways to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef, and boaters of all types are encouraged to pay close attention to guidelines regarding private boats. The area is high traffic for commercial vehicles. Small cruising ships also run day trips, as well as overnight and extended trips. There are a variety of reef destinations to choose from, depending on the amount of time you'd like to spend on the water. There is a limit to the number of vessels allowed on the water at any given time, so it's a good idea to book your trip well in advance.

Motorized sports, such as jet-skiing and water-skiing vehicles, are allowed, but only in designated areas. You may not use these vehicles as transport to or from any other areas in the park. Facts on the Great Barrier Reef are available through many different sources. Local citizens, as well as surf and diving instructors, are also great sources for facts on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Australia Great Barrier Reef is truly one of the most gorgeous sites in the world. If your travel plans take you anywhere near the area, it will be well worth your time to make a stop. Whether you choose to go Great Barrier Reef diving, snorkeling, fishing, hang out on the beach, or just get some facts on the Great Barrier Reef, the Australia Great Barrier Reef will be a memorable experience.

Image: Queensland Tourism/AP

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